British Airways is being forced to dispatch certain planes without any food, and the carrier is blaming its catering issues on a severe lack of security staff at its Heathrow hub.
Short-haul services across all of Europe were impacted by the food rationing on Monday, according to British Airways, but passengers were informed in plenty of time to make arrangements for self-catering.
The issue, according to the airline, is not a lack of people in its food department but rather a lack of security staff at Heathrow airport, which is delaying catering truck deliveries to the aircraft side.
Similar to most airports, Heathrow’s catering supplies are prepared outside the airport’s secure area and then transported “airside” by passing through a security checkpoint. Although the catering trucks are often sealed and not required to be searched, the drivers and caterers must still go through security checks just like any other customer or employee.
However, it appears that Heathrow is diverting security personnel from these staff checkpoints in order to relieve the horrendous lines that are clogging the passenger security screening areas of the airport.
The catering trucks are therefore being idled, and there is no assurance that food and other supplies will arrive at planes in time.
According to a British Airways representative, several flights on Monday departed without catering, and passengers traveling in business class were given a voucher to use to purchase food at the airport.
Hopefully, the problem was isolated to that particular day, but Heathrow continues to direct security personnel to the passenger search lanes, raising the possibility that catering incidents will become a summertime staple. Similar problems have recently been impeding Lufthansa’s summer operations.
Heathrow claims it is certain it will soon have an equal number of trained and available security officers as it did prior to the pandemic.